Tag Archives: Freedom

Commission Urges Continued Pressure on Sri Lanka

Monday 30 November 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission welcomed the recent announcement by the Sri Lankan Government of the lifting of restrictions on movement in the country, but urged continued pressure on the Sri Lankan Government in relation to the treatment of Tamils.

The Commission’s Executive officer, peter Arndt, said that some reports indicate that there is continuing harassment of Tamils despite the announcement.

“We understand that Tamils seeking to travel from the north of the country to Colombo must register at the local police station when they arrive,” Mr Arndt said.

“There are also police and military checks being carried out on Tamils as they travel through the country,” he said.

“It is one thing to announce that Tamils can move freely through the country, but it is another thing altogether for that to be happening on the ground,” he said.

“No-one should be rushing to close the book on Sri Lanka just yet,” he said.

“We have a lot of credible evidence of the complete disregard for the human rights of Tamil civilians by both the military and the Tigers during the recent conflict,” he said.

“Thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by appalling actions on both sides and there must be accountability for this,” he said.

“The homes and infrastructure of many Tamil communities was devastated by the Government’s military onslaught and we need to ensure that Tamils will be given all the help they need to re-build their communities,” he said.

“And we must never forget that the long-running conflict is linked to Tamil discontent at their treatment by the Government,” he said.

“Unless there is a genuine commitment by the Government to enter into a process of reconciliation, the bitterness will continue to simmer,” he said.

“Sustained pressure from the international community has pushed the Sri Lankan Government to this point today and it must continue to be applied if the Tamil minority is to be treated with dignity and fairness,” he said.

“The repeated criticism of many Governments and the UN and the threat of economic action by Europe have forced the Sri Lankan Government to improve the situation for Tamils,” he said.

“This pressure must continue so that the Tamils can live in Sri Lanka without discrimination and fear and so that all Sri Lankans can live in peace and security,” he said.

“Some dreadful things have been done to people on both sides in this conflict and efforts must be made to address the root causes if the country is to know peace,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Brisbane Group Calls for Zimbabwe Support

Brisbane Group Calls for Zimbabwe Support

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has helped to form a group which aims to rally support for the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

Australians Supporting Zimbabwe will hold a public Walk for Peace in Zimbabwe this weekend to draw attention to the plight of Zimbabweans in the period leading up to the Presidential run-off election on 28 June.

Images of the Walk may be viewed here.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many Australians are not aware of how much violence and intimidation is being used by forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe to stop people from voting for his opponent, Movement for Democratic Change Leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Zimbabwe is in a state of almost total economic and social collapse and the people are suffering immensely,” Mr Arndt said.

“Many people are without jobs, homes or sufficient food and their lives are very desperate,” he said.

“We know that groups of war veterans and young men have been sent out to various parts of the country to unleash horrible violence and destruction on those who might support Mr Tsvangirai,” he said.

“Not even Members of Parliament are safe from this violence and intimidation,” he said.

The father of one of our local Brisbane group’s members, Ian Kay, has been arrested and is in leg irons and other influential MPs are being hunted down too,” he said.

“It is a truly horrifying and appalling situation in which there is no respect for human rights, democracy or justice,” he said.

The Walk for Peace in Zimbabwe will be held this Sunday 8 June from 10.00 a.m. It will commence at the Nepalese Peace Pagoda in the Cultural Forecourt of Southbank and will proceed to Davies Park, West End, where there will be speakers, African food and music.

Those who want to enjoy the African food and music are being asked to donate money towards an appeal which will provide emergency assistance to those caught up in the current violence and to public campaigns promoting democracy and justice in Zimbabwe.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

Walk for Peace Rally pdf Flyer

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Women of Zimbabwe Unite

Zimbabwean Dissidents Unite in Prayer for Peace
New Flickr group — Zimbabwe: Peace, Justice, Freedom and Democracy